Acer Aspire E 15 (E5-576G-81GD) Review
The Acer Aspire E 15 (E5-576G-81GD) is a desktop-replacement laptop that has a solid feature, including a large FHD screen, top-of-class battery life, and a dedicated graphics card for a very reasonable price.
- Useful port options, including DVD drive
- Long battery life. Solid feature set
- Not-so-bright display
- Heavy, tame design
The latest Acer Aspire E 15 E5-576G-81GD is very likable, with lots going for it. A 15.6 full HD display, a peppy 8th Gen Core i7 processor, a dedicated GeForce MX150 graphics card and 8GB memory. For all these it hits a sweet spot on pricing. There are some less expensive options like the Aspire E 15 (E5-576-392H), if you’re on a tight budget, but if you need to replace an aging desktop and need some real power, the E5-576G offers better value.
The new model delivers better performance than its predecessor from last year, has the latest generation Intel chip and impressive battery life (just over 10 hours). So are we recommending it? Of course, not unless you’re looking for an ultraportable that will not weigh you down on daily commute.
Design and Build
Acer’s Aspire E15 Series has maintained a steady design for the past two years. Nothing fancy here. All you’re getting is a solid build, fit for a budget system but doesn’t feel cheap at all. Its entire body is made of plastic, save for brushed patterns on the lid and keyboard deck that adds glamour to an otherwise plain theme.
It measures 15 x 10.2 x 1.2 inches and weighs 5.3 pounds. Not particularly portable, but within the dimensional range for the category. You can easily slide it into a backpack to college/office, but not as thin as the Asus ZenBook UX330UA-AH54 (0.5 inches, 2.6 pounds). There’s a pair of audible speakers that can fill a medium room and a 1280-by-720 pixels HDR webcam for Skype chats or video chats with family and friends.
Display and Keyboard
Backlit keyboards are becoming pretty standard, especially at this price range, and it’s no exception here. The benefit of a 15-inch system like the Aspire E15 is that it has enough room for a full keyboard deck, with well-spaced keys for easy navigation. Navigating through photos and web pages is enhanced by Acer precision technology, and a similarly concise touchpad. For college assignments and office reports, the keyboard comes very handy, as you can almost peak your typing speeds here.
The Aspire E15’s15.6-inch LCD panel has a 1920-by-1080 resolution and a 16:9 aspect ratio. It is an IPS display, making it a better choice over Twisted-Nematic (TN) panels, has it gets wider viewing angles and better picture quality. Still, it doesn’t utilize the same In-Plane Switching technology like what you’d find in the pricier Lenovo Edge 15 that gets a true IPS display for slightly more. It isn’t touch-enabled, but the pre-installed Windows 10 Home OS works well without touch capability, Windows 8 that was designed for touch screens. If a touchscreen is a must-have, the Samsung Notebook 7 Spin offers that feature, though you’ll have to forgo the snappy speeds of an SSD.
Ports and Storage
Connectivity is excellent. On the left is a DVD-RW drive, a USB 2.0 port while an SD memory reader rests on the front-left corner. Others include an Ethernet port, VGA and HDMI ports extending the display to larger screens like HDTVs, projectors, dual USB 3.0 ports, and a single USB Type-C port all on the left. For internet connectivity, the Acer is equipped with 802.1ac wireless that features MU-MIMO technology that is fast compared to the previous versions as well as Bluetooth 4.1.
For storage, there’s a 256GB M.2 SATA solid-state drive (SSD), which offers better write speeds, faster booting as compared to traditional spinning hard drives. Though not as spacious as traditional hard drives, the space is still sufficient for storing photos, music, videos, movies, files and other documents
With an 8th Gen Intel core i7-8550U CPU, 8GB system memory and 256GB SSD, the Aspire E5-576G-81GD has enough power for day-today multitasking. The processor is among the latest releases in Intel’s lineup with a base clock speed of 2.5GHz, but can reach upwards of 3.1GHz in Turbo mode. This configuration is enough to keep multiple Chrome tabs open, and enjoy between 1080p movie without slowing down the machine.
The system’s dedicated Nvidia GeForce MX150 (2GB) graphics card allows for modest gaming, though not as smooth as you’d get in a GTX 1050-equipped system. Played at medium settings (1920-by-1080), the system manages 51 fps on Dirt 4, 44 fps on Prey and 72 fps on Titanfall 2, slightly ahead of systems equipped with Intel HD 620 graphics in the same category. However, if you raise the quality settings, the system begins to slow down, but for casual gaming it puts forward a better showing.
Most 15-inch notebooks in this category don’t last much on a single charge. The system lasted 10 hours 37 minutes in our rundown test, which is almost an hour longer than the HP Spectre x360 (8:45). Last year’s Acer Aspire E15 lasted 9 hours 35 minutes, due to the extra drain from the Intel Core i5 processor balancing the power savings from the 1,920-by-1,080-resolution screen.
The Bottom Line
The Acer Aspire E 15 E5-576G-81GD is the real definition of a top-tier laptop that continues giving. With a set of useful features and good hardware, the latest iteration offers better performance over its predecessor the Aspire E 15 (E5-575-57D4), though, the latter has a brighter screen and provides over 3 hours of additional juice on a single charge. A jump from a 7th Gen Intel Core i5-7200U CPU and Nvidia 940MX graphics to 8th Gen Intel core i7-8550U CPU and Nvidia MX150 graphics gives the Aspire E15 a much deserved performance boost.
Of course, there are some even cheaper options that involve compromises and a couple of disappointments along the way. For that, if you’re looking for a system that sweetly balances value and feature set, the Aspire E5-576G-81GD is our top pick..